Cubs News

On this day in 2016: Lester, Szczur spark Cubs to thrilling win over Braves

3 years agoTony Andracki

Five years ago, the Cubs embarked on a historic journey that will go down as one of the most impactful seasons in professional sports.

Throughout 2021, we’re taking a look back at some of the best moments from the incredible 2016 campaign.

Next up: Lester’s gem and Szczur’s grand slam

Apparently the Cubs playing the Braves on April 29 is a common occurrence.

As the 2021 squad attempts to beat the Braves in Atlanta, let’s take a look back at a thrilling Cubs victory over the same team back in 2016.

Jon Lester pitched magnificently, striking out 10 batters in 7 innings of 1-run ball. In the top of the 7th, he worked around a bases loaded, no out jam to get his 9th and 10 strikeout victims on the afternoon.

Listen to the crowd’s euphoric reaction throughout Lester’s Houdini act. Shout out to the framing job by catcher David Ross in that inning, too.

The Cubs rallied late to break a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the 8th inning thanks to an Anthony Rizzo single. Matt Szczur followed with his first career grand slam to lift the Cubs to a 6-1 victory.

The win gave the Cubs a 17-5 start to the 2016 campaign.

Fun facts

—With the grand slam, Szczur improved his season line to .333/.400/.593 (.993 OPS) through the first 19 games. He was a valuable role player for the 2016 squad, including when he lent Rizzo his bat in the NLCS.

—It was the second time in a three-start span that Lester struck out 10 hitters. He also turned the trick on April 17, 2016 against the Rockies.

—It marked Lester’s sixth straight quality start to begin the year. He lowered his season ERA to 1.83.

—Ross drove in the Cubs’ first run in the game with an RBI single.

—Héctor Rondón — who just recently retired from baseball — worked a scoreless 9th inning in this contest to keep his season ERA at 0.00.

—Freddie Freeman is the only current Braves player who suited up in this game. He hit a home run off Lester to account for the only Atlanta run.

—In addition to Rizzo and Ross (as a player), current Cubs Jason Heyward and Javy Báez also played in this game. Pedro Strop got the victory with a perfect 8th inning.

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